Desires Lead to Deviation
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Allah wants to make clear to you [the lawful from the unlawful] and guide you to the [good] practices of those before you and to accept your repentance…Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation,” [4:26-27].
This is the reason why people delay doing the good. They are following their desires: a bigger home, a better job, another degree, an exotic foreign vacation, and then I will go for Hajj. Remember, Hajj becomes fard on you at the age of twenty and when you fulfill other conditions too. You cannot delay it until you are fifty. It is an obligation on you!
An important topic that Surah an-Nisa deals with is about resolving issues particularly the marital disputes. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala explains us conflict resolutions in steps where the first step is the willingness to reconcile. Do not be too arrogant to resolve matters.
Remember, divorce is not a seven-letter word that you can throw any time. You have to live with the consequences. The person in whom you are able to find tens of problems might be the best person you ever meet. There is no person in the world created as per our liking. Therefore, married couples need to try as hard as possible and keep their marital secrets between themselves. But when matters go out of hand, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them,” [4:35].
If the couple wants to settle disputes Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will pave the way for resolution. But if the couple wants to prove who was right and who was wrong they will never be able to reconcile. And this is true for any kind of dispute that one might face.
The Etiquette of Separation or Divorce
“But if they separate [by divorce],” yes, separation is permissible in Islam, “…Allah will enrich each [of them] from His abundance,” [4:130]. This teaches us the etiquette of separation. Do not let that separation be an event to mudslinging one another where the whole family and the entire town gets to hear rumors about you two. After the divorce, live like two civilized people. The children need both their parents. It is too much for them to witness their parents’ separation and later their slandering and accusations.
A reason couples fight is jealousy. We look at other people’s lives and feel they have a better life than us. The grass is never greener on the side. Everyone has their tests which we are unable to see.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Or do they envy people for what Allah has given them of His bounty?”
It is Allah’s decision that who gets what. We should not look at other people’s treasures and wish it is snatched from them. If we like what someone else possesses we should make du’a for them and ourselves. We should ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to bless them and grant us with the same goodness. Then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“But we had already given the family of Ibraheem the Scripture and wisdom and conferred upon them a great kingdom,” [4:54].
This is what we need to make du’a for. Of course, we cannot attain Prophethood but we can get something of it. We should ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for wisdom and conduct of the Prophets ‘alayhim salaam.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us health and wisdom and help us see the reality of this life, ameen.
The Hypocrisy of Our Emaan
Most often our deeds don’t match our statements. What we say is entirely different from what we actually do. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “If He will, He can do away with you, O people, and bring others [in your place],” [4:133] this serves as a stern warning. At another place He says,
“O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him,” [5:54].
It is hypocrisy to say we believe in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and consider Muhammad ﷺ as His Final Messenger and then not follow His commands. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them,” [4:142].
Can anyone deceive the One Who knows what our hearts conceal?
Who are these hypocrites?
“And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little,” [4:142].
How many of us stand up for Salah because we want to? Many of us offer Salah only because it is obligatory upon us. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us the ability to offer Salah because we want to and not because we have to, ameen.
Many of us when we are standing in Taraweeh we are thinking about when it is going to end. When we are reciting the Qur’an we are counting the pages, how long till I reach the end. We act more like ‘Abd-clock (the slave of the clock) than ‘Abd-Allah (the slave of Allah). Will such an act of worship be acceptable to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
In the worldly matters, no one accepts half-hearted deeds or presents. We try our best and often go beyond our means and exert ourselves to please people, why not exert ourselves in pleasing Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
In ayah 142 cited above, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said the hypocrites do not remember Allah except a little but they like to show off. During Ramadan, Qur’an classes and masajid are filled with people. Everyone wants to join the study circle or Taraweeh and tell others about it. But what is the condition of our hearts and where is our mind?
Sometimes we go to the Qur’an class and masjid only to be seen by others. While we are listening to the Qur’an recitation our minds are on what’s happening outside. About the hypocrites, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire,” [4:145]. This is where the Fire is most intense. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from doing such acts that can lead us to Fire, ameen.
Another trait of the hypocrites that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala stated is,
“And when it is said to them, ‘Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger,’ you see the hypocrites turning away…” [4:61].
Many people do not study Qur’an or learn the basics of their religion because they measure it along worldly benefits. People say, “What will I get by studying the Qur’an? It cannot pay my bills.” When people put the Shari’ah behind their backs it is then that they lose peace from their lives. Surrender to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, His commands and the teachings of His Prophet ﷺ and you will attain peace. You will see the benefits right away but eventually, you will see this was a better trade.
Repent, Reform and Be Forgiven
After highlighting a significant yet often callously ignored matter of our worship, and talking about the punishment Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends Juz 5 by saying,
“What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing,” [4:147].
This statement gives so much hope.
Why would Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala want to punish anyone who honors his commitment to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sincerely? Why would He warn us of the consequences if He didn’t care for us?
Rather when we turn to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala out of love or in repentance, it delights Him that: Look, My servant knows there is a Deity Who understands him and can comfort him.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala give us the ability to surrender to Him and His commands, ameen.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)